Is Official Wireless Streaming Soon Coming to Quest?
Facebook’s standalone can already be connected to a PC to access the vast Rift Library via the Oculus Link cable connection. It now appears that Wi-FI streaming might also becoming soon, enabling users to connect to PCs without having to grapple with an extra cable.
Oculus has been researching a suitable wireless streaming solution for Quest since about the autumn of 2018. About that time, the former Oculus technology chief John Carmack had tweeted that Oculus was experimenting with optimizing WLAN streaming. At that time, nothing had been promised yet.
We did not add any dedicated hardware to act as a PC display (it was debated a lot), but we have a research project going to see what we can do with maxing out WiFi streaming. No promises…
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) September 30, 2018
Following the announcement of Oculus Link during the Oculus Connect 6, an Oculus Link beta was unveiled in November 2019. The feature allows Quest users to connect their headsets to a PC via a high spec USB cable thereby transforming the standalone virtual reality headset into a fully-fledged PC VR headset.
Previously, the Oculus Link connection required a high-spec USB 3.0 C, C or USB 3 A to C cable that has demonstrated proven performance, either from Oculus or from other third-party manufacturers. Recently, Oculus also added support for USB 2.0 making these lower spec cables also sufficient for streaming PC VR games to the Quest displays.
Now it appears that the next big Quest upgrade will be Wi-Fi streaming according to a newly published patent. Wireless streaming via a user’s own home network won’t be something entirely new for Quest. Quest users have been deploying software such as Virtual Desktop and ALVR to transfer PC VR content onto Oculus Quest. The wireless virtual reality streaming is now getting better although it is still far from perfect. Users using either of the above methods still have to grapple with latency and image quality issues.
Facebook manager Jason Rubin recently spoke about the future of the Oculus Quest headset and how Facebook is planning to solve the persistent problem of insufficient computing power over the long run. According to Rubin, there will be some form of cloud streaming over the longer run even though this solution is still at least five years away.
Rubin talked of the ability to wirelessly stream content from a local player to the Quest display and mentioned that this was likely to happen soon. While unofficial wireless streaming solutions have been around for quite some time, this would be Facebook’s first official support for Wi-Fi streaming for the Quest headset.
A Potential New Oculus Quest With a Wireless Link?
There is a hint in the new Oculus patent that shows a Quest-like virtual reality headset with a wireless receiver. The patent was filed in the summer of 2019 and published in October of the same year. A few days ago, this very patent was granted by the USPTO, the US patents office.
While there is no way to confirm whether the wireless PC connection is actually coming to Oculus Quest, the patent shows that Facebook is at least working on a solution. According to MIXED.DE, the wireless receiver for the headset could come in the form of a USB dongle or it could be built directly into the next generation or an improved version of the Oculus Quest headset.
Rumors are cycling around about a potential Oculus Quest S that could hit the market later this year to address some of the complaints raised about the original Quest headsets. Among other things, the Quest S headset will be lighter and more comfortable and it could also have a higher refresh rate. The headset could also feature improved controllers.